Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is designing The LEGO House, an "experience and education centre” in LEGO's home of Billund, Denmark. According to LEGO Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, The LEGO House, slated to open in 2016, "will show the past, present and future of the Lego idea…. and the Lego House gives us an opportunity to make it very tangible what Lego play offers and how it stimulates children’s creativity and learning." Sadly, the architects have not yet built a model of the structure from LEGO. Instead, they released the animation above. "BIG Plans for a Lego Museum in Denmark" (Smithsonian)
Lego announced two new Minecraft micro-worlds. The Village and The Nether measure 3”x3”x3” , and will be available September 1. If you can't wait, you can get the 480-piece Lego Minecraft building set now.
A beautiful LEGO build of Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit, from LEGO DOU Moko's Flickr stream.
One of AmputeeOT's followers challenged her to make a prosthetic leg out of Lego. In terms of practicality, it's a bit of a chocolate teapot. But she sure has fun with it, and that's what matters. She notes "Please don't do this yourself, I don't want you to fall and get hurt!"
LEGO announced its Ewok Village, due out September 1. It consists of 1990 pieces including R2-D2 and 16 minifigures: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, 2 Rebel soldiers, 5 Ewoks, 2 Scout Troopers, and 2 Stormtroopers. Join in the celebration below!
Graphic/package designers Ron & Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature created a marvelous holiday gift for their six best clients: a custom LEGO set. Sure beats a fruit basket!
Edition of 6 sets. 444 pieces. 4 instruction booklets. 8 different mouth combinations – and a hinged top that allows the owner to store all kinds of fun items (as shown below). We even found 2 extremely cute kids from 1972 in my house that wanted to participate in the box designEye Creature
In celebration of the Halo 4 release today, my nephew Andy Pescovitz completed his Spartan Warrior-4 custom LEGO minifig. See more of Andy's insanely-intricate custom LEGO characters from Gears of War, Modern Warfare 2, Max Payne, and other videogames at his pescovam Flickr stream.
Here are some examples of projects from the Unofficial Lego Technic Builder's Guide. I'm surprised by the complexity of the vehicles and robots that you can build with these components. (And how could anyone resist the far-out soundtrack that accompanies the trailer?)
Our friends at Laughing Squid have lots of photos of this great Lego build of the Batcave. I like the dramatic lighting. Incredible LEGO Batcave Built Out of Over 20,000 Pieces
[Video Link] Fiona Chan says:
Last night, LEGO kicked off the countdown to the Halloween season by inviting the New Orleans community to build a 12-foot tall LEGO vampire by the light of the full moon in the company’s first ever all night build. Set against the backdrop of Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral, they built spooky Lego Lord Vampyre -- based on the lead villain from the new Monster Fighters line.
Akiyuky on YouTube has uploaded a 7 minuted video overview of her or his astounding Lego Ball Contraption, a robotic rube goldberg device in 17 modules, each more fiendishly clever than the last. The accompanying blog (in Japanese) has lots more detail. But honestly, you can just sit agog for seven glorious minutes and soak it all up without having to try and parse out Google Translate's rendition of Akiyuky's explanation.
LEGO TECHNICからくり部屋 (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
A team of computer scientists at the University of Southampton in the UK created a supercomputer out of 64 Raspberry Pi matchbox Linux-on-a-chip computers and Lego. The team included six year old James Cox, the son of project lead Professor Simon Cox, "who provided specialist support on Lego and system testing."
Here's a PDF with instructions for making your own Raspberry Pi/Lego supercomputer.
Professor Cox comments: “As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer. We installed and built all of the necessary software on the Pi starting from a standard Debian Wheezy system image and we have published a guide so you can build your own supercomputer.”
The racking was built using Lego with a design developed by Simon and James, who has also been testing the Raspberry Pi by programming it using free computer programming software Python and Scratch over the summer. The machine, named “Iridis-Pi” after the University’s Iridis supercomputer, runs off a single 13 Amp mains socket and uses MPI (Message Passing Interface) to communicate between nodes using Ethernet. The whole system cost under £2,500 (excluding switches) and has a total of 64 processors and 1Tb of memory (16Gb SD cards for each Raspberry Pi). Professor Cox uses the free plug-in ‘Python Tools for Visual Studio’ to develop code for the Raspberry Pi.
Professor Cox adds: “The first test we ran – well obviously we calculated Pi on the Raspberry Pi using MPI, which is a well-known first test for any new supercomputer.”
(Images: Simon J Cox 2012)
Drew sez, "Lego has released a Haunted House set with vampire figures, zombie chef, Frankenstein butler, and glow in the dark ghosts. It's not a traditional Lego set as it's made to look in a state of disrepair with cracked windows, crumbling foundation and broken shutters. 2000 pieces make it a substantial build intended for older, more advanced builders."
Above is Jason Forthofer Brick Show review of the 2000+ piece set.
Lego Monster Fighter Haunted House (Thanks, Drew!)
Some more wonderments in honor of the Alan Turing centenary: Jeroen van den Bos and Davy Landman from the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam have created a working Turing machine out of Lego. It is both inspired and an inspiration:
Our LEGO Turing machine uses a tape based on a classic interpretation of computer memory: switches. Additionally, it uses a light sensor to determine the value of a switch: if the switch is on, the sensor will see the black colour of the switch's surface. But if it is turned off, the sensor will see the white colour of the LEGO beam, making it possible to distinguish between the states. Finally, a rotating beam mounted above the tape can flip the switch in both directions.
Alan Turing's original model has an infinite tape, but LEGO had a slight problem supplying infinite bricks. So we chose to fix our tape size to 32 positions.
Paul Vermeesch, a Lego jedi, created this loving tribute to MC Escher's Relativity, with innumerable grace-notes and sly in-jokes. It's living proof of the progress of Lego: ten years ago, I blogged Lego/Escher mashups of much less ambition.
Six months in the making, I present my largest creation to date: a 1x1x1 foot model of M.C. Escher's print "Relativity" reenacted in the Lego Star Wars theme. A far larger, cleaner, and more detailed rehashing of my 2010 version, this diorama is fully lit from the inside, presents the original Star Wars trilogy in a roughly counterclockwise format, and even features a minifig-scale theatre in the back which plays Lego's CG version of the Star Wars saga. Enjoy!
I attempted to stay as true as possible to the geometry and proportions of Esher's work, while bringing in the colors, worlds, and characters of Star Wars, and the freshness of the Lego medium. Unlike my first version of this concept, this diorama was not built solely for the finished replication photograph. This diorama has many details and scenes not completely visible in the finished picture. Take a look at some of these scenes and details below!
Star Wars Relativity V2 (Thanks, Phoebe!)
Artist Bruce Lowell recreated Limor Fried's Adafruit workshop in Lego and submitted it to LEGO CUUSOO. I hope it gets the 10,000 votes needed for Lego to manufacture it as a set!
Ladyada's workshop is a place where you explore all the cool things you build and use when you're an engineer! Computers, pick-and-place machine, laser cutter, soldering station and more! In Ladyada's workshop you can run your own open-source hardware electronics company, complete with Mosfet the cat.
The infamous art collective / brand, LA-GO has a show at Known Gallery in LA opening on May 26. It's called Legolize it, and features marijuana plants made from plastic hobby construction bricks.
Alexandra Lange sends us her "Living in Lego City," from Print Magazine: "An essay that asks and answers the question: If you built all the Lego City sets, what kind of city would you get? The city you get is one founded on the stereotype of boy busyness, a place that makes 3-D the transportation, safety, and sports obsessions we assign to boys. There's no zoo but a Dino Defense HQ, no supermarket unless you go down an age group to Duplo, no cafe unless you enter the pink and purple world of Lego Friends. It isn't just the minifigs that gender the Lego world."
Flying into Lego City on a Passenger Plane, you can see the city laid out below you in a grid: squares of green, wide roads of gray, and a tidy coastline of blue squares. It’s early, but already the Tipper Truck is out fixing the potholes and the Garbage Truck is collecting trash and recycling. At the Harbor, the crane is unloading goods onto a truck on the dock, while next door at the Marina the lifeguard is ready to go on duty. A high-speed Passenger Train is just pulling into the Train Station. And over at the Space Center, John Glenn will be happy to see that there’s a Space Shuttle awaiting its next trip to the International Space Station.
Safety is a watchword in Lego City. The Mobile Police Unit is ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice, should the Police Helicopter spot any illegal activities. It is hard to believe that any thieves could cross into Lego City, knowing the Forest Police Station is fully operational. And if the police, with their own helicopter and Jeep and a built-in holding cell, don’t catch the criminals, the bear (included) will.
But where do Lego City’s residents sleep? Eat? Shop? The green blocks are strangely empty. On the edge of town, kids are carving up the hills with their dirt bikes, thanks to the Dirt Bike Transporter, but what happens if they get thirsty? The only houses nearby (available as part of the Architecture series) are for the 1 percent: the Farnsworth House (that blue square looks awfully close) and Fallingwater.
Downtown, on the gray squares, the skyscrapers crowd closely together: the Burj Khalifa, the Empire State Building, the Willis Tower (renamed, even here). There should be a place to sit and watch the crowds at Rockefeller Center, but the scale is too small for benches or the skating rink. Down at the Marina, at least, you can relax at the Paradise Café and admire the brand-new Sydney Opera House. Now that Lego City has an opera house and a museum (the Solomon R. Guggenheim), it qualifies as a world-class city—right?
So many of LEGO’s sets today are made in conjunction with a movie or other Hollywood media brand. It’s a win-win for Hollywood producers and LEGO alike. But how many of those brands star girls or women in the lead role? Star Wars? Toy Story? Pirates of the Caribbean? The Lord of the Rings (available in LEGO this summer)? Hermione Grainger is a major character from the Harry Potter series, and there were a fair number of female minifigs incorporated with those sets, so I’ll give them that one. But still, in almost every franchise that LEGO has partnered with, females are secondary or sidekick characters at best. To be sure, this heavy male slant in children’s programming is a problem with Hollywood as a whole, not just with the famed brick-makers. (For an in-depth look at how girls and women are marginalized, sexualized, and stereotyped in family films, check out these studies by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.) And yet, LEGO could go a long way toward increasing its girl-friendly cred by creating sets and minifigs that mirror movies and shows featuring prominent leading ladies—like Avatar, Dora the Explorer, Spy Kids, and The Hunger Games.
See also: History of gendering in Lego.